2013 NBA Draft: Players to Watch in the NCAA Tourney, Day 1

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Frontcourt (no particular order)

Juvonte Reddic, Virginia Commonwealth, PF: While Shaka Smart’s team plays excellent havoc defense, it is Reddic who is the core to this chaotic mindset.  Reddic leads the Rams in rebounds and blocks per game, and is second on the team in points and steals per game.  His percentages aren’t bad for a big, either: 56%, 17%, 71%.  While the phrase “stretch-four” may never be applied to Reddic, we know that Smart can produce productive bigs that are ready for the next level (i.e. Larry Sanders).

Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

C.J. Fair, Syracuse, SF/PF: It’s hard to pinpoint a standout player on such a balanced Syracuse team, but it’s even harder to pinpoint a weakness in Fair’s all-around game.  He leads the Orange in points per game, rebounds per game, free-throw percentage, and adjusted three-point percentage.  He’s excelled greatly under Jim Boeheim in his time at ‘Cuse, and will be highly considered by many in this year’s draft.James Southerland, Syracuse, SF/PF: Like Fair, Southerland has been a model of consistency for the Orange this year, ranked second on the team in points per game, rebounds per game, steals per game, free-throw percentage, and adjusted three-point percentage.  Regardless of whom the opponent is, Southerland comes to play every game and makes his presence known.

Anthony Bennett, UNLV, PF: Only a freshmen, Bennett has proved his worth to his team and the nation, helping the Rebels to a 5-12 matchup that should favor them.  If Bennett can show to the nation that his team leading 16.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg were no fluke statistics, he’ll be getting plenty of looks come June.

Gorgui Dieng, Louisville,PF/C: Dieng has been the heart of Rick Pitino’s defense the last few years for the Cardinals and has finally added an offensive touch to his game.  Averaging a near double-double (10 ppg, 9.9 rpg), Dieng’s biggest contributions have always come in the form of shot-blocking and shot-altering, where his presence alone makes people driving the lane rethink what they’re about to do.

Mandatory Credit: Matthew O

Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, C: Tall, strong, talented, great potential; it seems as though these words, and many more, can easily describe what Olynyk has brought to a Zags team that will be looking to make its first ever Final Four.  His low-post offense has been incredible (17.5 ppg on 65%, 36%, 79% shooting) and his ability to perform as a two-way player (7.2 rpg, 1.2 bpg) could make Olynyk a rich man come June.Elias Harris, Gonzaga, PF: While Olynyk has received almost all of the Zags attention this year, it’s Harris that has been just as important to the Bulldogs’ success this season.  With averages of 14.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, and 1.2 spg, Harris has proved to be a consistent low-post and baseline threat that can add to any team.

Mike Muscala, Bucknell, C: It’s difficult knowing where to begin with Muscala; he leads his team in points, rebounds, and blocks per game, is second on the team in assists and steals, and has performed on a consistent basis that it’s a wonder that more people haven’t heard his name by now.  Although playing in the seldom recognized Patriot Conference, Muscala has a chance to show in the Big Dance that his numbers (19.0 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.4 bpg, 52%, 27%, 79% shooting) are no joke, and that he deserves more than a couple looks at the next level.

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